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Spare Change

As long as we are alive the only certainty we can absolutely be sure of is change. Constant change. Temporary change. Permanent change. Change that may change how we see ourselves forever. Most of the time we live our lives protected by whatever bubble circumstance or premeditation has created around us. We often lose track of the fact that we are not the bubble itself. We call ourselves salesmen, parents, artists, teachers, accountants…whatever. We identify with the label and begin to color our inner and outer world in a style we deem appropriate for the label. Years go by and we become used to living this life-style. We believe the life-style, the image, is who we are. Then things begin to change. We experience a physical injury that keeps us in bed for an extended period. We find ourselves in a situation where we are unhappy. Our company downsizes and we are let go. Our children are in trouble and we can’t help them. Our anchor is lost at sea. Our life-style, our image of ourselves, begins to unravel. Who are we now?

An identity crisis isn’t just a personal phenomenon. We can experience this confusion as a nation also. In my lifetime it has happened many times. The JFK and RFK assassinations. The Vietnam War. 9/11. The financial crisis the world is experiencing right now. So much more. But we are not these events. We as a people are not these events. These events may shake you up, or wake you up, or bring you to your knees. But we are not these events. Most of us have had a life-style change recently given the recent financial downturn. We need to stop whining about this and move on. Figure out what to do next. Remind ourselves that we were never our bank accounts and four bedroom homes in the first place. Connect back to what is really important in life. I can assure you what is truly important cannot be found at Neiman Marcus. (Although, granted it can sure be a lot of fun looking for it there.) We are still now and forever only our hearts and minds. Our thoughts are still things. Things that matter. Things that make a difference. Things that defy categories. Things that will turn any personal or national crisis around. Everything from losing a paycheck to oil spills ravaging the oceans can be remedied by our innate creativity. We are not the mess we are the solution to the mess. We need to forget about our life-styles and remember who we really are. We are miracles! And miracles “happen” every day.

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My Hero

I have a new boyfriend. I fall in love with someone on a weekly basis at the very least. Can’t help myself. Most usually it is someone who is beyond excellent at what they do. Someone who knows their stuff and does it with panache. Someone I have never met. I guess we can call these little flights of admiration a crush? I guess. I have women on my crush list also. Been carrying a torch for Coco Chanel since I was 21! Why not? She was perfection and she liberated women from those godawful restraints they used to call clothes! My latest crush is on a fella I’ve been watching on HGTV. (Don’t tell Smokey Robinson or Nouriel Roubini, OK?)  Mike Holmes (Holmes on Homes) has not replaced my great love for The Smoke or Dr. Doom but he is currently a part of my personal holy trinity. Why? Because we all need a hero and Mr. Holmes is a hero if ever there was one. Mike is a Canadian building contractor. Every week on HGTV, Mike walks into some fresh hell another builder has left behind for some unwitting home owner. The home owner is usually facing the worst possible contractor rip-off story ever. Electrical fiascos, plumbing-to-nowhere, the house at risk of caving in on itself because the foundation has been compromised by a sociopath posing as a building contractor. Imagine your worst renovation nightmare and Holmes On Homes deals with it. Once Mike enters the scene it is just a matter of time before he rights the wrongs and all is well on the home front.

 Mike’s crew includes his three children. The crew works day and night until Mike is happy with the result. And Mike ain’t happy until it’s perfect. He has even been known to use his own money to finish a project properly for the people who have been taken in. We are talking hundreds of thousands of dollars here. There is just sumthin’ about Mike? A gal has no immunity from that kind of charm. He saves the day every time. He does it with grace, kindness, and human decency. Some bad guy has done something to someone so unfair and Mike, the good guy in overalls, corrects the injustice. He is an absolute inspiration. As stated before we need our heroes. It doesn’t matter if the hero is just an honest working stiff. Or a woman willing to stand up for the freedom of another woman in a country she will never set foot in. It doesn’t matter if the hero breaks the rules or follows them. Anyone doing the right thing when it is far easier, more profitable, and totally acceptable to do otherwise is a hero. At least in my eyes. Ya gotta love a person like that. I manage to find one on any given day and fall in love with them…just a little. It’s Memorial Day here in The States. A day we set aside every year to honor our fallen military heros. Bless them all. And thank heaven not all our heroes are dead heroes. Have a sweet one!

I am a great believer in remaining present. But when we give in to despair and stop believing in new possibility, sometimes the answer is in the past. If you lack spiritual stability a fall from grace is inevitable. Whenever I feel as though I may have lost my seat on the Success Express I do this exercise. It has never failed to reconnect me to forgiveness and healing. I close my eyes and recall the first home I ever knew as a child. Our family jokingly called it The Green Mansion. By the time I was born, the two-story Victorian beauty with the deep front porch already had decidedly faded charms. The house was located on The Bluffs in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. In those days the steel mills were still in full-time operation and the acrid smell of the river (“The Mon”) permeated not only Cliff Street but half of the city of Pittsburgh. In my mind I walk up the stairs to my childhood home and enter the dark, dank hallway. I visit and revisit every corner, thought and feeling I can muster, as I time travel through the days I spent there. I go back to remember. This was the place where I experienced my first feelings of love and disappointment. This was where I heard my first jazz and climbed my first cherry tree. This was where I ate my first Sunday dinners surrounded by a huge, crazy, loud, loving family. This is where time lost its way. This was my beginning. Different than some beginnings. Not perfection but perfect just the same. Bittersweet and mine. The past is huge. Sometimes the shadow side of yesterday can haunt and daunt. All we can ever do is use it as an anchor to build a bridge and let life whisper in the new day. We’ve all come a long way. All of us. From blame to blessing. From denial to acceptance. From grief to relief. All of it serving the sacred. All of it there to give birth to and welcome the gifts we have to offer today. Sometimes it will take a trip to yesterday to remind you of the blessings of today. The present will still be here waiting for you upon return.

Have you ever had someone come back into your life after a long absence? You are used to navigating your days successfully without them. Now here they are trying to insinuate themselves onto your radar screen once more. It’s strange isn’t it? At some point they let go of the relationship they had with you. Whether there was benign indifference or active contempt in play, at the time, they had their reasons. Reasons they felt “right” about. Right enough to vent those reasons out loud and say goodbye. Ya know, I tend to protest for a minute when I feel I am being inappropriately dismissed. I then find after my initial resistance acceptance comes quickly. I let go and get on with things. I don’t think I have ever spent an entire week mooning over the loss of any relationship to date. What’s the point? It doesn’t change anything. Over is over, right? Apparently not for everyone.

Seasons change and we change with them. We all have our strong points. I easily forgive. I suppose others easily forget. I wish my memory were not so long. I wish forgiving meant forgetting. I wish there were never feelings hurt. Unkind words expressed. Promises unkept. What should we do? Well, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to finish writing this blog. Get some much-needed sleep. Hopefully, wake-up tomorrow. I will act as if my relationship status has not changed at all because it hasn’t. I still have the same friends, family, and loved ones I had yesterday. I’m still livin’ alone and lovin’ it. I will continue to prosper and do well. The comings and goings of vexation in human form doesn’t affect my world at all. Clueless people will continue to walk into our lives and walk out with some regularity. Refuse to react to mindless inconsideration and whim. Never let the opinion of a fool break your heart or delay your journey. We have work to do here. It is easier done in the company of those who play well with others. Capisce? Have a sweet one!

Ring Of Fire

Nothing like passing through a ring of fire, eh? We have all been there and done that. We will all most likely do it over and over again before we go to our great reward. There is tremendous power in the storm but to the faithful there is ever more power in the sweet afterglow of the rainbow. When you bring your true heart to all you witness and endure in life you cannot help but be changed for the better by your experience. Miracles are entirely necessary and willing to happen. Our faith is sure to be tested before the miracles reveal themselves. So what’s a poor ol’ faithful wretch to do? No matter what you have to go through to get to the other side of your worst experience, be loving. Loving to others. Loving to yourself. Consider always who you really are and who you really want to be. Consider who you want to be remembered as being. Spiritual lessons are often difficult. Still, every time you are knocked to your knees and rise again you grow another heart. A heart wiser and more capable of living a purposeful life. A heart Spirit can use effectively now because it once was broken and survived to thrive. Hallmark moment…maybe? But there you are my little butterfly.

Rainbow Sunday

Most of you may know I volunteer at my local animal shelter on Sunday’s. Even though I am a Doctor of Divinity I am not a big fan of  organized religion. This small act of volunteerism is my idea of going to church. At this point in the evolution of our collective consciousness,  organized religion (as in churches, temples, mosques, etc…) is proving to be doinh more harm than good. I say, until these morally bereft, self-serving entities get their acts together and promote only Love, Unity, Respect for all beings and things and nothing else? No other agenda what-so-ever? We should abandon them with vigor! Take all of your tithing, dues, roving basket offerings and put them to good use elsewhere. Yes, all of these organizations do “good works.”  The problem is the good is done in the name of the organization’s mission. That mission may also be promoting various and sundry forms of hate mongering, over-population, self-righteousness, shut-up-and-drink-the-kool-aid, or relocate the pedophile. There are some religious entities that are not organized around exclusionism and preaching nonsense. But that doesn’t stop the people who attend the weekly services from being foolish enough to wax evangelical about how great-they-art and how not-so-great-thou-art. It’s tiresome. Boring.

It’s the 21st Century. A book of fairy tales written 2,000 years ago in Greece or 20 years ago in Des Moines is still just a pretty lie. They have nothing to do with historical or Divine truth. All of these so-called “good books” are written and revised by religious fanatics with a personal/political agenda. I for one refuse to be told what to do by some old white guy in a dress. If said white guy is rockin’ a ZZ Top beard you can forget about it all together! (No offense to ZZ.) It’s time to let all of this foolishness go. At least for a while for a serious re-think. Organized religion has little to do with God, The Divine, A Higher Good or Spirit. It has much to do with a few doing well while a majority are grifted into supporting some dysfunctional cause. Yesterday as I left the SPCA building I looked to the sky. To my delight a brilliant arched rainbow blessed the blue yonder with magic and wonder for a full ten minutes. A rainbow is all the proof I will ever need to know there is a Divine Heart connecting all of our hearts together. Reason enough to offer the world our very best in the name of Love. Old white guys in dresses wearing silly hats? Not so much. Have a sweet one!

 The unlived life. Dreams all your own lost along the way. Or maybe the dream life of a parent you tried to fulfill in vain. Where do these lives go? I suppose they go where all unlived lives go. They are idling somewhere in time between childhood and the day you decided you were a grown-up. As a grown-up it was time to put away such foolishness. It doesn’t matter if you were 16 or 60 when you made the decision. At some point you thought it prudent to lose the dream. Into the ether it disappeared along with your Grammy acceptance speech and your first dream house by the sea. Gone, gone, gone but not ever truly forgotten. On odd occasion your old dream come to mind. You feel wistful. A gamut of feelings catch in your throat. Your heart yearns for the time when dreaming of that life was all you ever really wanted. Wouldn’t it be great if you could go back there? Take all the knowledge and experience you have today with you. Push a reset button and live your unlived life. Think about it? 

 Make no mistake now, the fact you aren’t living the life doesn’t mean aren’t grieving the loss. The loss of a dream is much more painful than the loss of reality. Why do you think we take it so hard when a great love is finally over? It’s not that we forget the small and large acts of lovelessness bringing the relationship to its end. The unrealized dreams attached to the “we” involved makes it hard to let it go gracefully. The unlived life attached to the relationship calls to us like a haunting refrain of a Chopin etude in a minor key. What to do? To tell you the truth I’m not entirely certain. I am certain about living life just right though. Whatever is just right for you is the life you should be living. If it takes a hundred phone calls and heaven knows what to realize all or part of  your unlived life? I say go for it! Just do it. Don’t allow anyone or anything to keep you from your unlived life one more day. If you feel your unlived life where your happiness lies why would you just let it go? You are older. Hopefully wiser. You are unlikely to do anything really stupid because you have more to lose now if you do. If your dream was really meant for you? You can manifest it. It’s never too late. The Heart of the Divine has been holding on to it as a precious keepsake for you. Just waiting for the day when you had enough courage to ask for it back. Ask. It belongs to you. Take full ownership. You two take good care of each other. Have a sweet one!